Nearly 90% of potential clients will research your practice website before scheduling their first appointment. Of these, over half of them will also look at your clinic’s online reviews and ratings before making a final decision. With your website effectively your new ‘front door’ it’s essential that it’s up-to-date and professional – both in design and functionality.

A key factor that helps make your website successful is that it must be mobile-friendly. Proof of this is that back in 2015 already, mobile searches overtook desktop computer searches for the first time.

Website strategist Talia Wolf says you only have one chance to make a first impression. This is even truer when it comes to mobile web pages. She says this is often the first interaction a customer will have with your website, so getting it right is critical. In today’s competitive veterinary environment, there’s little leeway given to an under-performing practice website.

Clients expect a response in just one hour

This is supported by the results of a recent survey, which found that 70% of mobile searches result in action in just one hour, and 40% of users will choose another result if their first choice isn’t mobile friendly.

Think about your own recent experience when wanting to find out about a particular business and follow through with a booking. Whether it’s a movie theatre, restaurant, doctor, dentist or hairdresser – we all expect to find the information we need quickly and easily, and book a time there and then. Veterinary clients are no different.

Having a website that offers online appointment booking can play a pivotal role in your practice success. A modern software solution that comes integrated with a client communication solution provides a quick and convenient way for clients to respond to reminders and recalls at a time and a place that suits them.

This integrated technology has been adopted successfully by most service industries, and – although veterinary practices have lagged behind in the past – they are catching on fast.

50% of appointments are booked appointment outside business hours

The convenience of online booking for clients is underscored by data showing that practices with an online booking capacity report that 50% of appointments scheduled online are made outside of regular business hours, and 17% are new clients. Not surprisingly, 17% of practices report an increase in revenue after adding an online booking service.

These statistics demonstrate the need to find a solution that will deliver a website that looks great on any device, whether computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s also essential that they drive social media engagement by making it easy for pet owners to follow and connect with you online.

Online self-service portal – where clients can look up pet health information, refill prescriptions, print vaccination certificates, schedule appointments, manage their reminder preferences and upload photos of their pets – are also becoming a must-have for every modern veterinary practice.

A good online reputation is essential

Another important factor that contributes to a successful online presence is online reputation management. We’ve all heard the stories about businesses who failed to address customer complaints online and ended up paying the price of a damaged reputation and financial fallout.

So, how does a busy veterinary practice manage to stay on top of social media, reviews and ratings websites and other online channels where you might be named? Given the sheer volume of what’s shared on the internet these days, you’d need to hire full-time experts to stay on top of things and actively manage your reputation.

That’s where proactive software solutions come into their own. Rather than waiting for clients to react to your practice’s service levels, it’s better to front-foot the communication process by automatically sending out surveys to clients, inviting them to share positive reviews and posting them on your practice website and social media channels, so new clients can see what great service and care you provide.

As Mary Weeks, from Creekside Pet Care Center in Keller, TX said: “When a brand-new client visits our website, it’s comforting to see a whole set of five-star reviews.”

With this kind of response, it’s easy to see the value of that a suite of integrated digital tools delivers. It boosts your brand, helps alleviate the pressures on frontline staff and improves practice efficiency and profitability.

Find out how to boost the standard of your client communications using Rapport’s all-in-one customized solution.

Interested in more information? Contact us today.